Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Cover for the Chicken Run

Our flock of 15 has dwindled to 12; two roosters and ten hens.  Hawks flew into the chicken run and killed the Polish girls, Lady Gaga and Phyllis Diller, last fall.  The roosters chased them off but not before the girls were killed.  They weren't the brightest birds but they were entertaining.  Amelia loved to fly out of the pen and into my garden.  There, she would scratch and peck in the compost, happy and busy.  I loved watching her.  We knew the chances of a hawk getting her eventually were high.  She didn't have the protection of the roosters in the garden, although she was a Lakenvelder and they are known to be savvy foragers.  A few weeks ago, Brett found her carcass in the garden.  The victim of a hawk.

Brett spent the next week thinking about the best way to construct a cover for the chicken run.  Of course, his plan had to look great and be strong enough to withstand a tsunami.  The pen is too wide to fit a standard length of wire fencing so he put in posts and built a trellis type cover.

Lucy, who is scared to go outside the arena and walk under the oaks and pines, wasn't at all bothered by Brett's piles of materials, a tarp and the tractor.  Go figure.

After installing massive posts, Brett built a grid with 2x4s on the inside and 4x4s on the edges. The grid has four by four foot spaces.  It looked just like a fancy patio cover when Brett finished.


Last, he laid fence panels across the top, cut to fit, and anchored down.  The chicken pen cover isn't going anywhere.

Hawks can't dive in and adventuresome chickens can't fly out.

Lets' see, at an average of five eggs per day, how many years before we get a return on this investment?  Not that we care, we love our chickens and want them to be safe.  And Brett doesn't know how to build anything that isn't top notch.


12 comments:

  1. Just a side note. There was no help to be found. With Annette working long hours it was up to me to do all the lifting, nailing and post setting. It took a heavy toll on our wine inventory.

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  2. This snowy week I wanted to check on the neighbor's chickens because I like watching them and I wanted to see if they were out in the snow. Well, they were not, but they couldn't have been, because the fruit-tree netting they'd used as a coop roof was so laden with snow it was actually touching the ground. This fruit tree netting works fine for fruit trees in summer, I guess, but the previous owner of our house used it to cover our fish ponds to keep the herons out, and whenever it snowed, it was hanging into the water, even tangling up with the fish. We got proper fish pond netting (4X4inch mesh) that works much better, but with all this snow it's not optimal either. So how much snow can Brett's roof hold? Probably all of it!

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  3. BRett is a master at whatever he does. That is such a beautiful setup for the chickens.

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  4. good work Brett!
    We will be getting chickens but I've agreed to wait until I retire. I'll be asking you two for advice.

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  5. I figure we're "paying" about $18 per dozen for our eggs ;-). That's a heck of a nice cover!

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  6. It looks strong enough to be the base for a second story avian penthouse.

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  7. WOW, that's some chicken coop! Glad they'll be safe.

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  8. That's a chicken palace for sure!

    I am so glad that you had a chance to mention the kindness that doctor showed me. I wish more of them would understand that when you are under stress, a small act like that will be so appreciated and certainly remembered.

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  9. Well Bret answered my first question of who helped him. I always have grandiose plans and then remember it is just me. I LOVE his cover. That would hold up to the Midwest snow load!

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  10. This is the #1 in all chicken coops, and would withstand a storm of the highest degree, never mind the tsunami. A return on that investment, Brett, advertise your skills and soon you will be a coop construction manager wide and far!!!

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  11. That's about the nicest chicken run I've ever seen. You guys sure know how to build pens.

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Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.